Things That Matter

Protests Erupt After Police Kill A Mexican-American Teenager In Mexico

As much of the world comes to grip with systemic racism and the role that police play in our communities, people continue to die at the hands of police.

Mexico is no stranger to police brutality and authorities acting with impunity. From the unexplained death of Giovanni Lopez, the case of Mexico’s “Missing 43” to the recent killing of a 16-year-old Mexican-American teen who was visiting his grandparents in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico is reacting to cases of police brutality with protests and action.

A 16-year-old boy from the U.S. was shot dead by police while in Mexico.

A 16-year-old Mexican-American boy, Alexander Martínez Gómez, had spent many years of his short live living on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border. Now, after a run in with police in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, Alexander is dead and his family and friends are in mourning.

Details of the shooting remain unclear but, according to media reports, Alexander and a group of friends walked to a tiendita to buy sodas when he was shot at from a police car in an attack that also injured a friend.

In speaking to Reforma, a family member said: “They were in a gas station buying a soda. They started to shoot, and because these 15- and 16-year-old boys were scared, they ran. They didn’t give them the option to stop or take off their face masks. They simply started to shoot and they shot him in the head. Alexander died instantly because the police didn’t want to give him first aid.”

Local press reports said Alexander was staying with his grandparents in the town where he was shot. Relatives say he was born in North Carolina to Mexican parents.

The police have responded with a mix of regret and blame.

Credit: Manuel Ugarte / Getty Images

The city government expressed regret for the shooting on its Facebook page and said they had turned over evidence to the state investigators. However, they also tried to pass off the shooting as an accident, saying it was not carried out “in bad faith or to harm the community.”

Officials also tried to show their unwavering support for the police by using the hashtag: #TheHistoryOfThePoliceForcesSpeakForItself.

To many Mexicans, the statement was dejavú as it’s quite common for authorities in the country to blame the victims of violence for the crimes and brutality committed against them – especially by the police.

“They want to incriminate Alexander to justify the vileness of their actions,” tweeted Javier Valdivia, a native of Acatlán de Pérez Figueroa

Friends, family, and the community have come together to demand justice for Alexander.

Credit: Manuel Ugarte / Getty Images

Communities on both sides of the border demonstrated to demand justice for Alexander.

“We came in a caravan from town, with the support of all the people, who told us to keep going,” said Teodoro Martínez, the boy’s father. “We are not going to give them much time to get to the bottom of this.”

The father left North Carolina to attend his son’s funeral, but he has no visa and may not be able to return, he fears. 

In an especially emotional moment, his casket was taken to the local soccer field and placed in the penalty box area. One of his friends passed the ball, which bounced off the casket and into the goal so Martínez could score a final goal as onlookers shouted “justice.”

Alexander’s murder comes just days after police have been implicated in the murder of another man in Guadalajara.

Much like the growing movement for racial justice and inequality in the wake of George Floyd’s killing, Mexico too is seeing massive protests against police brutality.

The murder of Alexander comes just weeks after police forcibly detained Giovanni Lopez for not wearing a mask on the Guadalajara Metro. He was found dead by his family the very next day.

Subsequent protests against police violence were themselves met by further police violence. About 80 people were seized by plainclothes police officers on their way to a demonstration in the city of Guadalajara, and held for hours. The victims said they were beaten, threatened with death and eventually dumped in isolated areas.

Evidence collected by human rights groups suggested that security forces in Mexico are routinely responsible for abuse, torture and extrajudicial killings.

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People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

Things That Matter

People Have Taken To The Streets Across The Country In Breonna Taylor Protests

@KRISTENCLARKEJD / TWITTER

Cities across the U.S. are seeing a new wave of unrest following the grand jury’s finding on the Breonna Taylor case. Emotions are high as people protest against the lack of charges against the officers who were involved in Taylor’s death.

Protesters are raising their voices after the decision not to charge all of the officers involved in Breonna Taylor’s death.

Breonna Taylor was shot and killed on March 13 when police raided her apartment. The 26-year-old ER technician was sleeping when the police executed a “no-knock” warrant. However, police had the wrong address and Taylor’s boyfriend, believe their lives were in danger, fired at the police. Taylor was shot and killed in her apartment that night.

Major cities across the country saw major demonstrations spurred by the anger against the justice system.

A grand jury found one officer responsible for wanton endangerment after firing his weapon into neighboring apartments. There were no charges tied directly to Taylor’s death. The lack of charges has angered activists and advocates who are seeking significant police reform to prevent tragedies like this from happening again.

People have become hyper-aware of the issue and are paying attention to the outcomes.

Protest signs in different crowds show that the American people are paying attention. The Black Lives Matter movement became the cause at the forefront of American mentality since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis. Floyd’s death sparked national outrage and renewed energy into fighting to stop the disproportionate violence Black men, women, and children face at the hands of police.

Some motorists have turned violent against the protesters.

Video captured in both Denver and Los Angeles show vehicles driving through crowds of protesters. In Denver, the driver claims to have acted in self-defense after protesters surrounded his car. The driver claims that he did not intend to hurt anyone but reacted when protesters shattered his windshield.

In Louisville, police arrested the only Black woman in the Kentucky state legislature for protesting.

State Rep. Attica Scott was arrested for first-degree rioting, which is a class-D felony. The Louisville Metropolitan Police Department arrested 24 people Thursday night while protesting the decision not to charge the officers. Rep. Scott was arrested with other and charged with first-degree rioting and two misdemeanors for unlawful assembly and failure to disperse.

“Our call to action is to continue to make sure that the city of Louisville understands that we will not go away, that we will continue to demand the defunding of police and the dismantling of this police department because it’s corrupt from the inside out, from the bottom to the top,” Scott told NPR before the grand jury decision. “And it cannot continue to function in the way that it does.”

Taylor’s death has mobilized the nation with celebrities and politicians calling for justice.

The fight for racial justice and a systemic change to our justice and policing systems is ongoing. The people are tired of being scared and are taking a stand with their protests.

If you are out there protesting, send us your videos and photos so we can see your activism in action!

READ: Oprah Winfrey Honors Breonna Taylor With Historic O Magazine Cover

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You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Culture

You Can Order A ‘Taco Vacuna’ And ‘La Cura’ At This Covid 19-Themed Taqueria

Tacovid: SaborViral / Facebook

Pandemia. Brote. Vacuna. La Peste. Although you may find these terms in a glossary about the Covid-19 outbreak, that’s not what these words actually refer to. Instead, they’re options on the menu at a Mexican taqueria called “Tacovid: Sabor Viral”, a perhaps surprisingly very successful Coronavirus-themed restaurant.

Although to many having a Covid-themed taqueria may seem morbid or disrespectful or perhaps gross – I mean who wants to order a plague taco? – the taqueria is making light of a very serious situation with humor. Something that several other businesses have done since the pandemic began.

”Tacovid: Sabor Viral” is the Mexican taqueria going viral – pun intended – for its Covid-themed menu.

Ok…virus-themed tacos don’t exactly sound appetizing. Especially, as we’re still in the midst of a very real pandemic. But one 23-year-old man in the Mexican city of León, who was forced to close down his dance studio because of Coronavirus, is counting on a Covid-themed restaurant – and so far he’s been surprised by its success.

Brandon Velázquez converted his dance academy into a taquería at the end of July, and given that Mexico and the rest of the world was – and is – in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic decided to call it Tacovid Sabor Viral.

“I had to close my dance academy during the pandemic [but] then an opportunity arose to return to the same place, however, people still did not go out for fear of getting infected.” he told the newspaper El Universal.

“I had always wanted to open a taqueria and, at the end of July, the opportunity to do so occurred. It was how I took advantage of the moment to create this business with a coronavirus theme,” he added.

Items on the menu are named after – you guessed it – the Coronavirus and don’t sound like anything you’d willfully choose to order.

The young entrepreneur detailed the name of each dish, taking full advantage of the Coronavirus theme.

“We have around 12 different dishes, among them are the ‘Tacovid’; we have ‘Forty’, ‘Quesanitizing’, ‘Pandemic’, ‘Outbreak’, and many others. The price varies depending on the dish you order,” he told El Universal.

In addition to themed dishes, the servers also fit the Coronavirus-theme.

When the pandemic hit Mexico, the government urged Mexicans to observe “su sana distancia” and the now common mascot – Susana Distancia – was born.

“In the restaurant, a waitress dressed as a nurse with the name of ‘Susana’ takes orders and works the tables, referring to the healthy distance campaign that was implemented as a precautionary measure,” he says.

To his surprise – and honestly mine as well – the taqueria has been very successful.

Brandon told El Universal that he’s been pleasantly surprised by the support he has received from customers. “I’m surprised because we have had really good sales, despite the circumstances, we have had a lot of support by the community and we’ve already expanded to have two locations.”

“Customers are funny about the theme we are using in the business, and they are delighted with the dishes we are offering. They enjoy it and have a good time,” added Brandon.

Things are looking so good for Brandon and his Covid-themed taqueria, that he’s looking to expand the food business and add new dishes to the menu. “There is always the idea of new names for other dishes that we want to include in the menu.”

Brandon also said that he’s looking to build out a business model so the restaurant could expand to other parts of the country as a franchise.

Apparently, people are really into Covid-themed foods, as this isn’t the first place that a shop as cashed in on the pandemic. Back in April, a panadería was selling out of Covid-themed baked goods so quickly, they couldn’t keep the shelves stocked.

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